Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.” Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very large city; it took three days to go through it. Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth. Jonah 3:1-5
There are several things about today’s Bible passage that pique my interest.
First, Nineveh was a large city. Large enough that it took THREE days to walk through it. That’s Big!
Also of interest is the fact that the Ninevites believed Jonah when he finally got around to speaking to them about God and the destruction that was coming. They believed him so thoroughly that they prepared their hearts for punishment, even as they hoped for mercy.
The Ninevites quick decision to take action is impressive, I think. Once they heard what God was planning for them, they immediately stopped their evils ways, confessed their wrongs, and fasted and prayed, going several days without food, nor water. The king of Nineveh even ordered that the cattle go on a fast with the rest of the city. Everyone in Nineveh stopped what they were doing and prayed, prayed earnestly, to the God of Jonah, Yahweh.
Can you imagine the noise the cattle made when they’d gone just one day without food or water? The wailing that must have produced–I bet the commotion put goose bumps on arms all over town–and I bet it only intensified after the sun went down! No sleep for anyone in Nineveh until this sitch had been dealt with properly. No sleep!
The most amazing thing about this passage for me, though, is the fact that…
God gave Jonah a second chance!
A second change, people!!!! How good is our God!
Like Jonah, we let the Lord down, don’t we?
Like Jonah, we run in the opposite direction from His will for us, sometimes.
Like Jonah, we care about our own skin before we care about other’s.
Like Jonah, we find serving God in ways that are relevant to him, troublesome for us.
Like Jonah, we’ve failed God when he’s called us the first time, and like Jonah, we need that second chance.
Today, if you know anyone like Jonah, will you pray for him or her? Will you ask God to give them a second chance? Will you ask Him to put them in a spot where they’re motivated to do what He wants them to do, even if that means rough times for them?
Will you pray for their inner fortitude, strength, and faith in the only true God? If you will, you’ll need fortification to do that job, right? A touch from God?! Let’s pray…
Who do you know that is a Jonah, in need of a second chance? When have you been in need of the same?